The Angelus, by Jean-Francois Millet, Ekphrastic prompt.

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It rings every day, the Angelus bell,

and every day they stop and pray,

and every day they start again,

another furrow filled with seed,

another day broken on labour’s back.

Furrows, horse-trod, fill with rain

or seed or pigeons, later barley,

cabbage, rye, to be scythed, dug,

weeded and pigeons to scare.

The bell rings and rings again

And all that changes is the light

and the hands that join in prayer,

more wrinkled and worn each season,

until pigeons peck the scanty seed

and fly, as the final furrow is dug.


Dearth of Humanity

This was my entry for the Ekphastic Review challenge inspired by this painting by Fidelio Ponce de Leon. It wasn’t chosen to be published but here it is anyway.


Dearth of humanity



There are some places in this world

Where ghosts walk daylit streets, the trackless

Famine fields and cotton fields,

Between sugar canes and potato stalks.

Human misery in shrouded white

Of rotting once-was-food now putrid blight,

Stalks the dark and comfortless night

Children’s hollow eyes the only light.

Bought and sold or simply left to rot,

Unwanted weeds in a neat suburban plot,

They haunt us still, or should if we have hearts.

The legacy of blind profit, abundant paunch

For some and padded cushioned ease until the grave,

For others bone-white lassitude and shrivelled hope,

Weary of waiting for the end,

Of dragging rattling skin from dawn to dusk.

Humanity is passion-fire not graveworm, maggot-bland,

Yet our children, grown from tender seed to budding flower,

Shrink into wind-blown dust, ground into desert sand

Step by step

The Daily Post prompt is: Sidewalk

Photo ©Tomascastelazo


Step by /step echoes on the flags

Head bent low /rain spits in the wind

So it’s hard to see /how the raised face glistens!

The outstretched hand /and the soft voice pleading

Harden your heart  /for there is hope in a smile

When the rain turns to tears /to give is to care

Walk on by /and the sun comes out.

Three line tales: The kid

This is for Sonya’s three line tales prompt.

The photo is ©Rosan Harmens


I passed the kid every day on the way to work, already looking like a derelict, already a hopeless wreck of a human being.

This morning he caught my eye, his gaze abnormally bright and piercing, as I hurried past, almost reached out a hand, then turned the gesture into a shrug, leaving me with a feeling of guilt, though what could I do?

I gathered my things together and made for the door as evening shadows filled the car park, and as I reached to turn off the light, a movement made me turn and the sound of heels drumming against the filing cabinet—he was there, waiting for me, as I had half-feared he would be.

Christmas shopping and why I hate it

Shopping is something I hate. I get claustrophobic in shops, overheated, and lost. In the street I plough through the crowds as if I’m on a special mission with M breathing down my neck. Christmas shopping is the worst of all. I have a list of the things I want to get, the shops I need to visit. I take the back streets to the shop I’m after, dive in and dive out again. Flying squad tactics.

Yesterday I couldn’t put it off any longer and ventured up town. I made two shops then came home. Sorry everyone about the presents, but I couldn’t stand any more of it. I wrote this instead.

Too many

So many

Are those who sit by the wall

Between shop fronts

Next a dog

Curled asleep

On a piece of cardboard.

So many who see

Each passing face

And search it with insistence

For a friendly sign.

So many are those,

Hand resting

On the head

Of a curled, sleeping dog,

For whom the brightly coloured, shiny things

Behind the window glass

Have as much significance

As a grey rock

Shed by a dead planet.

Photo credit Benjamin Brock
Photo credit Benjamin Brock